Impact of Pandemic: School Bus Company Expects Influx of Driver Applicants
For Vanessa Bell of Brooklyn Park it was like the first day of school. Except she drove the school bus. Bell was one of the prospective drivers who showed up for a job fair Tuesday in Brooklyn Center put on by the First Student bus company.
After filling out an online application, Bell got a chance to get behind the wheel in one of the giant yellow buses. She practiced in the parking lot with an instructor close by.
“I love driving,” Bell said. “I’ve worked in schools for many years and I’ve always wanted to drive a bus. I drove past and saw you guys were hiring. I think it would be a good fit for me.”
“If you go through the process, at the end of the process, it’s more likely than not that you’re going to prefer driving the school bus as opposed to your car,” said Craig Hutchinson, spokesperson with First Student. “Because you’re that comfortable in it.”
Bell believes driving a bus is the perfect part-time job.
“I love kids,” Bell said. “I have a kid of my own.”
Pandemic Creates Demand for More Bus Drivers
First Student needs bus drivers and is conducting weekly job fairs. With the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment payments ending this month, that could foster more interest in these positions.
“We really anticipate that we’re going to get an influx of applicants,” Hutchinson said.
Whether it’s distance learning, hybrid teaching, or kids going back to school every day, the pandemic has created a demand for more drivers.
“If for example it is a hybrid model, if we have one student per seat or one student every other seat, you can see the numbers work out that you’re just going to need more buses in order to transport those kids,” said Hutchinson.
First Student says the pay is good for a part-time job and you can contribute to the community.
“It’s as flexible as any part-time job out there,” Hutchinson said. “You can generally work with any job out there. The pay is great for a part-time job, $18-20 an hour, more if you have experience.”
There will be First Student bus company job fairs in Brooklyn Center, Champlin and Plymouth next week. More information can be found on the First Student website.